Piazzale della Pilotta, 15, Parma
The Farnese Theatre, located on the first floor of the Pilotta Palace, was built in the ancient Hall of Arms (Sala d'arme) of the court, between 1617 and 1618, by the architect Giovan Battista Aleotti from Ferrara, nicknamed Argenta. Built with materials which were frequently utilised for temporary structures in the Renaissance era, like wood and stucco, which was painted to simulate marble and precious metals. The theatre was created at the wishes of the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Ranuccio I Farnese (1593-1622), who wanted to magnificently celebrate the stopover in Parma, of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo II de 'Medici, who was traveling to Milan to conclude a marriage agreement between the two families. The visit of this distinguished guest's faded away in vain and the inauguration only occurred in 1628, with the wedding between Margherita de 'Medici and the Duke Odoardo, with the allegorical "show" entitled "Mercury and Mars" (text and music by Claudio Achillini and music by Claudio Monteverdi) culminating in spectacular "naumachia" (naval battle). Due to the complexity of the stage and its' high cost, the theater was used only on nine occasions, for ducal wedding or important state visits. It was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing in May 1944, and the theatre was rebuilt from 1956 according to the original plan. Since 1986 it has become the spectacular access to the museum's exhibition spaces.